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Adopted mother Frieda keeps telling the young Halina that if they survive the Nazi death camps they shall have to testify until they die, but My Testimony is also a record of Halinas experiences after the camps including her arrival in Australia after the war where, as a young woman, she worked with charwomen at Collins Street doctors surgeries before pursuing a career in pathology at the Alfred Hospital. Described by the author as her last testimony before she drops off the twig, this carefully crafted work is no straightforward autobiography but one in which the people and places Halina has known take centre stage. The short stories within these pages offer jewels of wisdom from a woman who has lived a truly full richly rewarding as well as horrifically harrowing life. Eighty-one-year-old human rights activist Halina Wagowska survived Auschwitz and Stutthof concentration camps in her early teens before immigrating to Australia. Over the years she has frequently testified to the consequences of prejudice she witnessed: she has provided material for Thomas Keneallys book on Schindler; and for Spielbergs Shoah institute, via the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne; as well as presented at international psychology conferences as a child survivor.
- Hardie Grant Books, March 2012
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